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Levine: Young Cubs Thrive On Each Others' Paths

By Bruce Levine --

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The phrase "youth will be served" can be applied to the Chicago Cubs and their recent charge toward the 2015 National League playoffs.

Beginning with the signings of Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, the youth movement, though often painful, has proved to be fruitful. Four different rookies and six players 26 or under are all a part of manager Joe Maddon's lineup on a daily basis.

The transition from one phenom to the next has been almost seamless for Maddon and his talented young group. In spring training, it was Kris Byrant and his 11 home runs. After Bryant's call-up, it was Addison Russell who became the focal point for the fans and media.

The last six weeks have been about Kyle Schwarber, the 23-year-old outfielder-catcher who has been the talk of baseball as he makesa case for the Rookie of the Year award along with Bryant.

"That is a good point," Maddon about Schwarber taking some attention off of Bryant and Russell. "He has deflected some of that off of those guys. It is a good thing, and it's spreading (attention) on them out a little bit. Addison is doing a lot better right now. KB is rebounding a bit. (Jorge) Soler looks good right now, driving in runs. The glory is being spread out more evenly."

Soler has been the forgotten rookie due to the fact he had playing time in the big leagues in 2014. The Cubs could have four of the top seven or eight in the final voting for the rookie award in November.

"To be able to go through this together does help," Maddon said about his rookie group. "It is spread out and moving forward to play this well at this juncture of their careers, I would like to believe will be very helpful in the years to come also. Getting guys going together there is a lot of history pointing to the success of those groups. The big thing is to keep them healthy. I really trust the people themselves -- these are really good guys. So I know they are going to get better as a group."

The Cubs last had the one-two finishers in the rookie vote in 1989. Jerome Walton was first, and Dwight Smith was runner-up.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.

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